So, it's here. Or close to it. Your first BJJ comp. You've put the rounds in, you're feeling pumped and good to go, but what do you need on the day? We've put together a list of some essentials that have helped us out in the past.
1. Your uniform
Okay, this is an obvious one, but bear with us. If you're competing in the gi, make sure it goes by the rules of the organisation. Most of them are pretty chill, but the IBJJF has some pretty specific guidelines. Their exhaustive list can be found here.
If you have a spare gi, take a spare gi. If part of it rips mid match, it'll be stopped and you'l be given a very short amount of time to sort a replacement, leaving you the option to either borrow one from a teammate, buy one from a stall (if there is one) or stick your replacement one on.
If you're doing No gi too, you need a rashguard (compression top), and a good pair of shorts. Your shorts can't have any pockets or zips on the outside as your opponents fingers, toes etc could get stuck in them. In most comps you can wear spats too (compression style leggings) but again, in IBJJF comps it's a no-no for the boys. The ladies however, for obvious reasons, have a bit more leeway. Best off checking the comps rules themselves, but if you have spares, it's always good to take them!
Once you've weighed in, but before your matches, you're going to need some hydration. Also, for between your matches too. There might not be vending machines etc to hand wherever you're competing. If you're planning on having some sort of electrolyte fluids, or a fizzy sports drink to keep your glucose levels up after those awful adrenaline dumps, make sure it's something you've had before or take during training.
Don't down a load of lucozade a minute before your match if you'll spend the entire time with a shitload of heartburn because your bodies not used to processing it under duress.
3. Flip Flops / slip ons
Big chunky trainers for while you're in the pen, getting on and off the mats can be a pain in the arse. Pack some light flip flops or easy to get on slip on shoes for getting from the warm up mats to the pen, then ultimately to the mats.
Again, once you've weighed in you're going to want something to eat. Especially if there's a big weight between your matches. I'd advise against a full English breakfast, as you'll probably bring it all back up. Something easily digestible. Overnight oats, bananas, or, the Unorthodox Nutrition favourite, Rice Krispy squares for easy to digest quick glucose. Great for in-between Gi and Nogi categories too. This might be the time to drink some for of isotonic sports drink, build those levels back up if you've got a big gap between your categories.
Even if you don't use it normally, take some. You might get a cut or pop a finger out of place. You'll need to fix it temporarily for your next matches. So stick some finger tape in your bag and you're almost ready for anything.
Whether you want to get in the zone, meditate or kill some time with a podcast pack a pair of headphones to help block out the noise and get into your own headspace before your match.
7. Phone Charger / portable battery pack
Time for a science lesson. When you pack 500 people into one room, the strength of the 4G/5G signal around you drops significantly because you're all hijacking from the same place. Your phone tries harder to pull the usual info it needs and will drain your battery quicker than usual.
Fully charge your phone the night before, and at minimum take a phone charger or cable and try and find a plug socket. If you already have one or can borrow one, grab a portable charger for those all important mat pics, or get someone to video your matches for assessment later.
There's tonnes more we could add, Rennies for anyone over 30, coffee, immodium. But ultimately it's down to personal preference. The above list should have you covered for 99% of competition scenarios.